The Netherlands has great infrastructure for cycling, so much so that I'm wondering if taking the lane for turning left like I would in a place like the United States is discouraged or prohibited, especially when the bike lane is protected. Here is an example:

intersection for left turn

The normal way to do this seems to be to stay in the protected bike lane, stop at A, press the button, wait for the bike light, then cross the street and make a hard left to press the button at B, and wait for the light again, then cross. Occasionally I see cyclists (usually people on street bikes) actually go into the street and take the left lane (actually probably the right-hand left turn lane where the car is). I feel like this is discouraged because I don't see many people do it, especially commuters, however there are issues with the A/B route.

  1. When there is a lot of traffic it can take a considerable amount of time to wait for two lights. (Although sometimes both lines turn at the same time which makes it better)

  2. More importantly, when it is necessary to wait at B there is barely room for a single bike to squeeze between the bike between the oncoming lane and the street: enter image description here When car traffic is delaying the light there is also frequently a lot of bike traffic, meaning that if there are more than one or two cyclists waiting at B then it impedes the flow of traffic trying to continuing through A and past B.

There are other issues with taking the lane, namely that due to the protected lane it would be necessary to enter the street at the previous intersection a hundred meters or so behind the picture. This may be harder to do exactly at the times you would want to do it most. However there are other cases where the lane is not protected until right before the light and these would be easier to merge into traffic, especially when there are fewer lanes.

n.b. strangely there does not seem to be a "netherlands" tag.

  • Discouraged by whom? The traffic rules? Public opinion? Cycling association? The car drivers? Internet cycling forums? It surely will be discouraged by someone. Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 10:08
  • 4
    @Michael I added a "Netherlands" tag.
    – Rеnаud
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 10:49
  • @VladimirFГероямслава Is it discouraged by those around you when you are cycling in such conditions? Is it prohibited by traffic rules? I'm just trying to get a feel for how reasonable it would be to do and why.
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 11:04
  • 1
    "by those around you" - I believe that in the United States, most people would discourage "taking the lane", because they are driving cars and not cyclists themselves.
    – Edward
    Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 2:44
  • @Renaud Tag info created now, feel free to expand. bicycles.stackexchange.com/tags/netherlands/info
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


On the bike you are obliged to use the mandatory bike lane if one is present. This is indicated by a blue round traffic sign with a white bicycle.

In your picture it would be illegal to take the left lane as cyclist.
The traffic rules state:

Verplicht fietspad
U ziet hier een verplicht fietspad. De snorfietser moet hier ook gebruik van maken, tenzij anders aangegeven.

Rough translation:

Mandatory bike lane
You are seeing a mandatory bike lane. Slower mopeds (<25 km/h) also have to use this lane, unless noted otherwise.

  • 2
    Welcome to the site - this is a good answer, keep it up. Given this is the Netherlands, I suspect there exists a better route for bikes to get through this intersection. Perhaps the next street over is more cycling friendly, leaving this main road for mostly motor vehicles ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 9:19
  • Am I reading that web page correctly? That site which explains the traffic signs seems to be showing someone driving a scooter on a bicycle-only lane, even though it shows as an example that there exists a sign which allows bicycles and mopeds (and presumably scooters?). Is it being shown as an example of what not to do or is abuse of the cycle lanes so common that even the people responsible for the signage just don't even notice it?
    – Old fart
    Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 15:53
  • @Oldfart The text under it says "The moped rider must also use this, unless otherwise indicated. " But this is confusing to me because there is a different sign indicating that it is mandatory for mopeds which had a picture of both on it.
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 18:26
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    @Michael I think the confusion stems from the different types of mopeds in NL: a "snorfiets" (recognizeable by the blue license plate) is a moped that maxes out at 25 km/h and must use the bicycle lane indicated by the blue round sign with only a bike on it. A "bromfiets" (has a yellow license plate) maxes out at 45 km/h and is barred from using a bike lane, unless it's signed with the blue sign with a symbol for both the moped and the bike. Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 12:52
  • @SaaruLindestøkke Thanks, that makes sense! Especially since I can sometimes pass snorfiets on my beenfiet ;-)
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 13:04

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